How to cook tamales in the oven?

Tamales are a staple dish in many parts of the world, but especially in Mexico.

These delicious corn-based dumplings are filled with meat or vegetables then steamed or boiled to perfection.

If you’ve always wondered how to cook tamales in the oven, worry no more!

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make your favourite dish tamales right at home!

How to cook tamales in the oven?

1. Start by soaking the corn kernels in saltwater for six hours or overnight.

2. Remove the kernels and take out the corn cobs to extract about 1/2 cup (100ml) of the water they were soaked in and save it.

3. Cut 2 lb (900g) of pork meat and add this to a deep frying pan with 3/4 cup (100g) of lard or vegetable oil over medium heat until browned.

4. Add the saved liquid from your corn kernels, 3-4 cups (700-1000ml) of water, 3/4 tsp (2g) sugar and 3/4 tsp (2g) salt to your pan and mix well.

5. Let the mixture boil, then simmer for two hours over low heat until the meat is tender and most liquid is gone.

6. While you wait for your meat to cook, take a spoonful of corn dough and place it in a tamale wrapper with a spoonful of your pork filling in the middle of each wrapper. Use enough so that you can fold up the sides without ruining your meat or vegetable contents.

Fold them up by pulling on one side first. This makes sure all four sides join together when folded tightly, so they don’t open up while cooking, then folding them shut from your starting point around to where you started. If done correctly, there should be no gaps or holes anywhere on your tamales.

7. Put your finished tamales in a saucepan full of hot water with the folded side up, so they don’t open while cooking.

8. Once all your tamales are done, put them back on the heat and cook for at least one hour over low heat until ready to serve, adding extra water if necessary; it shouldn’t be too much, though!

9. Let your cooked tamales cool before serving.


A package of tamale wrappers, corn, salt and water; 2 lb (900g) pork meat or chicken breast; 3/4 cup (100g) lard or vegetable oil; salt and sugar each.

How long should tamales be cooked?

If you’re looking to bake your tamales, here are some general guidelines:

  • Cooking time is approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After being in the oven, let them soak for 15 minutes before serving.

Can you make tamales without steaming them?

Yes, for this recipe, I will tell you how to make tamales without steaming them.

Tamales are a delicious and warm Mexican food, but they can also be tricky to eat when freshly cooked.

For best results, use aluminium foil wrapped to reheat your tamale for 20 minutes at 425° Fahrenheit inside an oven before eating!

How do you cook tamales in aluminium foil?

The simplest way to cook tamales in aluminium foil is by following these steps:

  • Lay a square of aluminium foil on a large counter.
  • If you’ve never cooked a tamale before, start by boiling some water and pouring it along the middle of the foil.
  • Add a little oil to the water if you’d like!
  • Next, open up your tamale dough and place it on top of the centre of the square. Be careful not to let it touch either side or edge as that will cause it to stick.
  • Fold one side over the tamale dough, then fold up both sides. Next, crimp down all 4 corners, so they overlap and seal shut. Put it into the oven and cook for 60 minutes.
  • Once finished, please remove it from the oven carefully and let it sit for 10 minutes before eating.

How long should tamales sit after steaming?

It is usually recommended to let tamales rest for about 15-20 minutes after steaming, but you can also serve immediately. Just like everything, the more you wait, the more complex the dough becomes.

Can I steam tamales in the oven?

Yes! Tamales can be steamed in the oven. It is an easy way to prepare these delicious corn-based dumplings, which are often filled with meat or vegetables and then steamed or boiled until they’re perfect.

How do you cook raw tamales?

To cook raw tamales, pour 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water into a large pot and add in your steamer basket before arranging them vertically towards the top section where the most profound part goes.

Bring all ingredients up to boil, then reduce heat so that you can simmer for an hour or more, depending on how many people are eating these delicious snacks!

Can you pan fry tamales?

Yes, you can pan fry tamales. Just make sure to use enough oil or butter to keep the tamales from sticking.

Can you steam tamales in aluminium foil?

If you’ve already cooked the tamales but need them to keep warm for a while, aluminium foil is the ideal heat conductor. Wrap them individually or, at the very least, cover the dish they are in to retain some of the heat inside.

Why do my tamales come out mushy?

Mushy tamales come from water that isn’t hot enough when the dough is added. This causes the masa to dry out, preventing it from binding together and eliminating that “crispiness” texture.

Are tamales supposed to be dry?

No, they can be either dry or moist. This is one of the many reasons why tamales are so great!

For a drier taste, one can add more water if they want them to be on the wetter side and vice-versa. It all depends on what you prefer!

How do you know when tamales are fully cooked?

To be ready, the masa should stick after 3 minutes. If this does not happen, then they’re still a little doughy and need to cook for an additional 5 minutes before re-testing again!

Once you can easily remove their husks, then your tamales are fully cooked through with no raw spots left behind from when we first started cooking them down in their pot of water.

How do you keep tamales warm?

Tamales can be kept hot by wrapping them in a thick towel and storing them in a heated oven or microwave.

They can also be wrapped tightly in aluminium foil and placed into the oven with the heat turned off.

The tamales could also be vacuum sealed and then frozen to use at a later date.

Can you fix soggy tamales?

It is possible to fix already-soggy tamales. You’ll need an extra-large pot, 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 tsp salt and baking soda (to taste).

Make the water just below boiling, then mix in the chicken broth and baking soda. Add tamales with tongs or a spoon; simmer for five minutes on medium heat.

Then turn the stove off and cover them until they are refreshed inside for 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Serve straight away by reheating on low heat, if necessary!

How long do raw tamales take to cook?

The raw tamales take to cook 25 minutes or so. Cook the tamales in a pot of boiling water, completely submerged.

Test a tamale using a metal spoon, and if it pulls quickly from the husk, then they’re done!

Can you cook raw tamales in the microwave?

Yes. You can cook raw tamales in the microwave. Take a damp paper towel and wrap it around the tamales to keep them moist. 

In a microwave-safe dish, arrange the cookies. Microwave for three to five minutes!

How long do uncooked frozen tamales last?

Uncooked frozen tamales last up to up to 6 months long in the freezer.

Can you fry or bake tamales?

Yes, you can fry or bake tamales.

If you want to bake them, they will need to be covered and cooked in a pot.

If you are interested in frying the tamales, you will need to use a deep fryer or large pot to be completely submerged.

Can you steam tamales in parchment paper?

Yes, you can steam tamales on parchment paper. Steam tamales for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Tamales can be boiled in a pot of water for 1-2 hours or steamed by wrapping the steamer base with towels and then adding an inch or two of water to the pan.

How do you cook tamales without a pressure cooker?

A tamale steamer will give you the same moist result as a pressure cooker without needing a pressure cooker or its specific tools.

You can use a regular large pot with boiling water, an electric stove should suffice, but if you’re cooking a lot of them at once, you might want to get a cheap propane burner from the hardware store.

Can you steam tamales in plastic wrap?

Yes, but they will not come out as well as they would in a steamer. Many youtube videos show you how to steam tamales in a pot with a lid.

The heat from the boiling water will develop a vapour layer and cook the tamales from the inside out.


Tamales are delicious, versatile and easy to make. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook tamales in the oven but didn’t know where to start, this article should be everything you need!

Whether it’s for a family dinner or just an evening with friends, these corn-based dumplings will satisfy your taste buds – not to mention they’re pretty darn healthy too.

With our step-by-step guide on How to Cook Tamales In The Oven, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy them more often without having any of the hassle involved when cooking them traditionally.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today by following this recipe!

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